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A Long-Term View

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I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
(Philippians 4:2-3 ESV)

Two women in the church at Philippi had been having some disagreement which was apparently brought to Paul’s attention in the letter he received from them.

Notice that these two women were believers (“whose names are in the book of life”). The Book of Life is the list that God keeps which contains the names of people who are going to enter heaven because of their acceptance of Jesus’ payment for their sins [Revelation 20:12, 15].

But even though these two women were believers, they were in conflict. Sometimes people expect other believers to be easier to get along with than non-believers. They think that being with people in the church will be a much more pleasant experience than being with people we work with or live with. But this is not always the case and we should not expect it to be.

People see things differently from each other. We are also selfish and tend to want others to see things our way. This is true of believers and non-believers.

When a person is born-again he/she is saved from the penalty of their sin – they won’t have to be separated from God forever in hell. And while God begins to conform that person into the image of His Son [Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 5:17], he/she still is a sinner living in a sinful world.

In Paul’s response to the Philippians, he reminds us that we are not to be distracted from what is important. We are to remember that what happens on earth is temporary. Anything that doesn’t go our way here will someday be over. But heaven is long-term. It is permanent. Therefore, we should fix our eyes on it.

Jesus was able to endure the cross because His mind was on heaven [Hebrews 12:1-2, 3:2; Philippians 2:5-8]. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he says, “Fix your mind on things above, not on earthly things” [Colossians 3:2]. Earlier in this letter he commanded believers to be united in mind and spirit, with one common purpose [Philippians 2:2].

When we stop to remind ourselves that our names are in the Book of Life – we are going to heaven – we realize that getting our own way now does not matter. We can be united in mind and spirit for the sake of serving Christ.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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